Nation Builders - Guyana



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    Shahabudin Mohamed McDoom passed away in London on March 8th 2008 at the age of 62. Since 2006 he had been battling myelofibrosis, a rare disorder of the bone marrow. Shahabudin was a man of strong convictions that he used in his service to Guyana and to his faith. He had served on the country's Ethnic Relations Commission and its Constitutional Reform Commission as the Muslim community representative. He was passionate about his country, his religion, and his family.

    The youngest of five children, Shahabudin, a graduate of Queens College, left Guyana in 1969 to seek opportunity overseas. He chose London, where he showed an aptitude for law and graduated in the top five in the Law Society Finals for his year. It is there that he also married Leila Rookmin Kishna, one of his former students from Indians Education Trust College. He was active within the Guyanese Muslim community in London and helped to establish one of the community's first mosques. After working as a Crown Court Prosecutor in the government's legal service he took early retirement. He chose then to re-direct his energy to the country of his birth.

    In Guyana Shahabudin quickly became active in public service again. He applied his legal training as an advocate to tackle one of Guyana's thornier issues: race relations. He also became active in the Muslim community once again, serving on the Central Executive Council of the Central Islamic Organization (CIOG) and as its representative on the Inter-Religious Organization. Shahabudin had an appetite for public debate and was not afraid to engage difficult ethical and political issues. He was a skilled orator and often spoke on public and religious occasions. He made frequent appearances on the weekly television programme, Islam and You. He was also a prolific writer and engaged in lively exchanges of opinion through the newspapers. Shahabudin loved and promoted his country. He was well-known for engaging Guyanese and non-Guyanese alike in lengthy discussions over the country's politics and future trajectory. And after 9/11, at a time when the climate became tinged with fear of Islamic extremism, he remained proud of his Muslim identity.

    Shahabudin also believed deeply in the importance of preserving cultural heritage. He strove to maintain Guyana's first stone mosque in McDoom, East Bank Demarara, as well as the McDoom family's first house. Both had been built by his grandfather, the Honourable Caramat Ali McDoom (1890-1950).





    Deen Ameerullah (co-author) is the great grandson of Gool Mohamed
    Khan.  The latter was born in 1853 in a small village of Moorni of the Nasruddin Khel tribe in the District of Dir in Afghanistan. He received his early education in various schools and mosques. At the age of sixteen he passed his examination in Arabic, that is, in Fiqa, Sirf and Naho. On February 14, 1869, at the age of sixteen, he started out on foot from Afghanistan to India since there were no railways or other means of conveyance at the time. He went to India to bring his brother back to Afghanistan as his mother was anxious to see him. His brother was residing in Jaroa State, Rajputana, India. Gool Mohamed completed the journey in 54 days on foot. Gool Mohamed stayed in India for four years. He resided partly with his brother and partly in the service of the Prince.


    Faizul Rahaman Khan, born on November 10, 1941 in Albouystown, Georgetown British Guyana, to Hassan and Nazmoon Khan and the eldest of twelve children, was reared in a family known for its involvement in Islamic propagation. His great grandfather the late Molvie Chand Khan was known to be the first person to have built a mosque in the colony of British Guiana. Faizul Khan was the grandson of the late Meer Khan. He was tutored in his early years at the hands of early Islamic scholars like Moulvie B.H Chand and Moulvie Naser Ahmed Khan. At an early age of seventeen years, Faizul R. Khan established a Madrasa to teach voluntary the principles of Islam and recitation of Quran. This continued in his later years for over fifteen years.

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